In advance of our trip to Piedmont next week, my wife and I tasted through the key red grapes side-by-side. Even for me, I’d had examples of all of these independently, but tasting them all side-by-side was eye-opening; in particular, the gulf in quality between the Nebbiolo and the Freisa, and the difference between the dolcetto (DARK fruit) and everything else (mostly red fruited).
Can’t wait for our trip!
2014 Giacomo Grimaldi Dolcetto d’Alba- Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Dolcetto d’Alba (6/22/2016)
I kind of liked this, but it’s very dolcetto-y. No obvious oak, clean winemaking, lots of acidity, black cherry, licorice, herbs. Juicy, goes down easy. Nice with a chill. I’m not a fan of such darkly-fruited wine, generally, but this is well-made. (88 pts.)
2014 De Forville Barbera d’Alba- Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Barbera d’Alba (6/22/2016)
My wife liked this much more than me; I found it sort of generic. Red fruit, herby, lots of dust, high acid, very little tannin. Good food wine, but not really distinguished; if I wanted a wine to serve this purpose I’d much rather have something from the Jura. (86 pts.)
2011 Fratelli Brovia Barolo Villero- Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo (6/21/2016)
Oh my. White truffles, red fruit, fine ripe tannin (but plenty of them). Just builds and builds with air. A concentrated, rich midpalate, and a long finish. So accessible today. Better than 6 months ago, that’s for sure (92 pts.)
2013 Fratelli Brovia Langhe Freisa La Villerina Secca- Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Langhe DOC (6/21/2016)
Tasted alongside the Brovia 2011 Villero Barolo (I understand this is also from Villero). A fascinating comparison - this is so much less aromatic, and so much coarser, with loads of bitter tannin. Reddish fruit, plenty of savory character, some bitter chocolate, but the aromatics are muted and the rusticity is obtrusive. (86 pts.)
If you see it while in Piedmont, the GD Vajra Freisa Kye is very good, and does not display the bitter tannin that you describe in your note on the Brovia. It is also, in my experience, quite expressive aromatically and very good with many foods of the region. I consider it the best Freisa I’ve tasted.
That was originally going to be the Freisa in this tasting (and I was going to get a Vajra Barolo to taste alongside it), but the store I was buying it from sold out of it the day before I showed up, so some improvisation was necessary.
I really like when Freisa is done in this aromatic, more “feminine” style. I thought the Brovia Freisa at one time was more in this vein but they probably change from vintage to vintage.
The Vajra Freisa is a really great wine but to me it is structured and more “serious” like a Barolo.
I openly admit I enjoyed these notes and the straightforward but useful comparison that David created. Seemingly sincere notes, both positive and negative, but without the needlessly harsh commentary in other posts (mostly related to CA Pinot) that I mostly find annoying. Thank you for sharing, David, and enjoy your trip.
To each his own. When I’ve had it (and I haven’t had the last several vintages), it was lovely, light, fruity and spicy wine that I found quite intriguing. More than just geek appeal for me – a nice wine in its place.